As a community starts to thrive and grow, more and more businesses and residents move into the area. Along with new growth, comes new buildings and homes in the community. What about the existing buildings in the area that might have lost their tenants due to previous lack of growth? An existing building is a perfect place for future business owners to begin a new business. Adaptive reuse, the process of reusing an old site or building for a different or new business, is a great way to bring new life into an old building.
One community that is booming with growth along the Northshore in the New Orleans area is Mandeville. Barrett and Jill McGuire, of McGuire Real Estate Group, are using adaptive reuse at two sites in Mandeville. Rest Awhile is currently underway and is now a restaurant complex and Band’s Food Store’s old building is currently under review to become a restaurant in Old Mandeville.
Currently under way, is the Rest Awhile restaurant complex. Originally the Rest Awhile building was the Frapart Hotel in the 1800’s which later became a retreat house for those in need. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the building was left abandoned and now the project is preserving the old building into a sit-down restaurant. Two other buildings on the site include the Hadden Cottage, which plans to be a coffee and tapas bar and the Sophie B. Wright Cottage which plans to be a tavern.
The McGuire’s second project is close to Barrett’s heart. Band’s Food Store, in Old Mandeville, was built in the 1940’s and served Old Mandeville for decades. As a young boy, McGuire remembers sweeping the parking lot of the grocery store, located at Lafitte and Monroe, to earn money to buy baseball cards. The couple purchased the site for $275,000 and hope to turn the building into a restaurant. McGuire says they are focusing on “a lunch counter concept at this point” and as for the name, “we haven’t gotten that far yet,” he said.
Adaptive reuse is not only a smart and green way to reuse current buildings, but is also a great way to preserve a community’s memories and history. As for the McGuire’s belief on conserving the old grocery store site, “It’s a great little place. It deserves to be put back into commerce,” he said.
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